This week’sDownload Q&A subject is someone I used to see multiple times a week, but not as much lately: Melissa Phillippi, the CEO of Durham-based workplace performance software startup WorkDove. WorkDove used to work out of the first floor of Colopy Ventures World HQ—GrepBeat is on the second floor—because our sister company Jurassic Capital is an investor. Back then, Melissa was the main reason the office had any couches/comfy chairs and why the plants were alive. (We’ve since rallied on those two fronts.)
But as Melissa says in the Download, her growing team now has their own digs at American Tobacco. She has a lot more to say in the full Q&A, which you can read here.
About a month ago, we told you about the resumé-on-a-cake that Karly Pavlinac sent to Nike HQ. Well, you can get the full backstory and aftermath from Karly herself in today’s edition of our Exit Stories podcast, hosted by Jurassic’s Kevin Mosley. Though that’s just some tasty frosting on top of what she’s really on the show for—to discuss the origin and acquisition of her fitness app startup WAAM, which we first wrote about in 2019. Read some show highlights here, then listen (and subscribe!) to the episode here.
Attendees at this June's Grep-a-plaooza got to see serial entrepreneur Matt Williamson pitch Plum, his vacation home co-ownership platform, as part of the GrepTank session. Well, that pitch just landed Matt $175K in Entrepreneur magazine’s Elevator Pitch contest. We first profiled Plum this March, two months before he appeared on the Friday Nooner. You may well recall that Matt was previously the Founder of Windsor Circle (he talked about its successful exit in an early Exit Stories episode) and before that he oversaw sales at Bronto.
Matt wrote about the Elevator Pitch experience on LinkedIn here, and you can see the pitch itself here.
Canadian tech firm Telus International announced last week that it acquired a majority stake in app developer WillowTree in a deal worth more than $1.2B. WillowTree is HQ’d in Charlottesville, Va., but it established a Durham office seven years ago that now has more than 150 employees. WillowTree CEO Tobias Dengel tells Triangle Inno that the new deal will mean added growth—and jobs—in Durham. One nice sidenote: WillowTree employees have equity stakes, so some wallets in the Bull City will be a little fatter after this deal. Sounds like more potential shoppers for the ForeverGrep store! They can’t go wrong with the eco-friendly “The Pete” tote bag.
Raleigh Founded celebrated its 10th birthday last week in marking a decade since the coworking space and entrepreneurial community first opened its doors as Hub Raleigh. It now has four physical locations across Raleigh and is expanding into two more in the Triangle (in downtown Raleigh and in Cary).
Recent Friday Nooner guest Lauren Romer removed the “interim” tag from her Director title while the woman she replaced (Jess Porta) is moving on to a new role at Raleigh startup Green Places, which has already spilled plenty of GrepBeat virtual ink since launching last year—including as story subject, a 2021 Startups To Watch honoree and CEO Alex Lassiter as a Friday Nooner guest. Green Places is also very much in the Raleigh Founded world; it’s physically based there and its initial lead investor is Raleigh Founded Co-Founder/Levitate Founder Jes Lipson. See Triangle Inno for more.
NC TECH Awards
NC TECH has announced five of the individual winners of its annual awards. They’ll be presented at the NC TECH Awards Gala on Nov. 29, which is when the winners in most other categories will be revealed. The individual winners are Bill Pappas of MetLife as Chief Information Officer (CIO) Of the Year; Pendo’s Chuck Kesler as Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) of the Year; Code The Dream’s Daisy Magnus-Aryitey as Tech Difference Maker of the Year; Angie Bailey of the North Carolina Department of Information Technology as Tech Woman of the Year; and NC State Representative Dean Arp (Union County) as Public Leader of the Year. See TechWire for more.
NC TECH also revealed the three finalists for Tech CEO of the Year: Todd Olsonof Raleigh’s Pendo, Erkang Zhengof Morrisville-based JupiterOne, and Pierre Naude of Wilimington’s nCINO. GrepBeat readers know all about the first two, but feel free to click the links to refresh your memory.
TBJ's Peak 25
TBJ is in the midst of a series it’s calling Peak 25, featuring brief Q&As with 25 “newly minded CEOs, presidents, and executive directors” in the Triangle. The series started last Friday and runs through this Friday. It has already profiled three folks in the GrepBeat universe: Green Places CEO Alex Lassiter (on TBJ, on GrepBeat); Kelly Rowell, the CEO of CED (TBJ/GrepBeat); and FlexGen CEO Kelcy Pegler (TBJ/GrepBeat).
NC startups can now apply for the next funding round of the One North Carolina Small Business Program. The program primarily works in concert with two federal technology grants, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. The One North Carolina grants can support startups as they prepare and submit proposal for those two federal programs, and also provide matching grants if they’re awarded. See TechWire or the program’s site for more information.
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